Released By: Whispering Voice Records
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Gothic/Doom Metal
Isadora Cortina – Vocals, Keyboards
Eddie Risdal – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Tor Arvid Larsen – Guitars
Jarl Ivar Brynhildsvoll – Bass
Christopher Midtsveen Vigre – Drums
1. Bone Code
2. Lethe part 1
3. There Is No Birth And Death
4. My Wretched Lord
5. Lethe part 2
6. Dawn Of Time
7. Lethe part 3
8. Transient Pale Days
9. Oregon Trail
10. Death, Silence Without Pain
11. Shedding You
Over time it seems I’ve been hearing less and less exciting new gothic metal albums each year, so whenever I get a good one it’s something to celebrate. The latest of which comes from Norwegian band Ancestral Legacy, who started out as more of a symphonic black metal band, but on their full length debut Nightmare Diaries, released in 2010, they ditched most of the symphonic elements and switched to more of a mix of gothic metal and doom metal, utilizing an excellent mix of light female vocals and harsh male vocals. While they’ve made a couple key lineup changes since then, their recently released sophomore effort Terminal continues with a similar approach, while taking the band to new heights.
The black metal sound from their early years can still be heard on occasion, but for the most part Terminal is a gothic metal album with some occasional doom and prog metal elements. At times it reminds me of Morten Veland’s album with Tristania as well as his first two Sirenia albums, though this album does get much heavier and bleaker at points, compared to anything released by either of those bands. Where the similarities come in most is with the constant contrasting of sounds, from the harsh male vocals to the very light sounding female vocals, and from the chaotic blackened passages, to the calm acoustic sections, or the moody piano parts. Every song goes through a series of movements, with constant changes in tempo and in the tone of the music, constantly switching from very heavy to very soft in a matter of seconds. There’s even a few faster sections, like the beginning of the particularly impressive track “Death, Silence Without Pain”. I only have one minor complaint about the album, which is that I wish more songs would stand out on their own, and breakaway from the pattern just a bit. This isn’t a big deal at all, though, because the music always sounds excellent, and the songs are all great, but at times it can become a bit predictable, since they use the same tricks on almost every song.
Vocals are a big strong point for Ancestral Legacy, and especially on Terminal. Eddie Risdal (who happens to be their lone original member at this point) does some excellent growls, which always add to the intensity of the heavier sections, while providing a great contrast to their new female vocalist Isadora Cortina. While she is classically trained, on this album she sings naturally and has a very light and pleasant voice that sounds especially great during the more melodic sections, though she does sound good when she sings during heavier parts as well. A few tracks also feature some very nice choir vocals from guests Anette Ødegaard, Sune Berthelsen.
Opening track “Bone Code” is a great indication of what the album sounds like. It starts off with a very calm piano section, featuring some nice vocals from Isadora, before suddenly exploding into a very dark and explosive section where Eddie takes over for a while, and then it goes back and forth as the song progresses. The three parts of “Lethe”, which are scattered throughout the album, contain some of the darkest, most black metal influenced material on the album, and they especially highlight Eddie’s growls and the excellent guitar work, which is another big strength throughout the album. Even during the heavier sections, there’s at times some very nice melodic guitar work, to go along with the great riffs.
On the other side of the spectrum, “There is No Birth and Death” is the most beautiful song on the album. It opens with a light acoustic section, which serves as an excellent showcase for Isadora’s voice. Even as the song gets heavier in the second half, there are very few growls on the track, as it’s almost entirely dominated by Isadora. Another highlight is “Dawn of Time”, which opens with a nice piano section, before exploding during the middle, and then towards the end comes a really nice section where the guitar work sounds heavily inspired by Led Zeppelin’s classic “Kashmir” riff. The title track is an excellent near 9 minute epic, which has an especially memorable vocal section to close the album.
At just over 70 minutes, Terminal is a very long album, but it never even begins to overstay its welcome. It’s an excellent gothic/doom metal album which is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys that mixture of styles, and to anyone who enjoys music that can seamlessly transition from calm to chaotic (or do the opposite of that) within seconds. Definitely one of the best dark metal albums I’ve heard this year.
Written by Travis